(Note: see end of devo for the verses that I mention throughout )
Five letters that used to send me running for the hills.
You know those football games where one team just gets trampled? That’s how my experience with trust was for a long time. I seemed to lose every game. As the defeats piled up I started to have a hopeless perception of trust. Was it even a real thing? It looked like it in other people’s relationships, but I didn’t really know. It didn’t matter anyways because it clearly wasn’t something I was capable of having.
For years I tried to find it. I tried to create it. I desperately wanted to fix the broken trust I carried around. But I couldn’t. Each time I walked away with cuts from more pieces of my heart that had shattered.
Over time I learned that trust is a choice, not just a feeling. So I tried to make that choice, thinking if I gave it to people they would be inspired to return it. But it was more like bracing myself for the inevitable collision between my heart and destruction. Trusting another person felt a bit like catapulting myself off of a cliff while rock climbing. I was unsure if the person at the bottom had the rope as tightly as they needed to in order to hold me. I hoped something had not come along to distract them from the fact that they were holding my life in their hands. I prayed they wouldn’t get tired of holding me, or think I was too heavy. I hoped they didn’t drop me, and let me shatter. Again. Unfortunately, by that point I was so insecure that I tried to trust anyone who would listen to me spill my baggage.
People told me that my trust needed to be in God instead of in people. But some of the biggest blows I received came during seasons of life when I was trying to pursue a relationship with God. Why did I get tackled if I was trying to do the right thing? I tried to color-code “Christians” and “non-Christians” so I knew who to trust, but some of the people who hurt me the most claimed to be followers of Jesus.
“How in the world am I supposed to put trust in that?”
But that was the problem.
I was trusting in and for the wrong things.
I wasn’t trusting God. Instead of giving God my heart to heal and hold, I continued to hand people all of it’s broken pieces. Deep down the familiarity of getting hurt again seemed more comfortable than the risk of trusting Him.
So my biggest struggle deep down has actually been whether or not it is safe to trust God.
For years I had confused painful blows as coming from God instead of people. This led me to cower at the idea of His protection.
I didn’t trust God not to let me get hurt. I didn’t trust Him to protect me.
But I was missing another crucial truth:
Trusting God is not the same as trusting that I won’t get hurt.
God does not promise life will be easy. He warns us of the opposite (1 John 16:33). The guarantee He does offer us is that even if we find ourselves in the worst-case-scenario, facing our biggest fears, we can be OK in Him. We may get knocked down, but we won’t stay there. He is stronger.
2 OF THE BIGGEST FEARS I HAVE FACED WHEN IT COMES TO TRUST
(and some truth to make them shut up):
1. Everyone I ever love and anyone who claims to love me is going to hurt me.
Because we are all sinful by nature, at some point we will all let each other down, and it hurts. If we base our security on the hope that someone won’t sin in a way that hurt us, we are setting ourselves up for more hurt. If someone places that kind of hope in you or I, will they not also have the wind knocked out of them? (Psalm 146:3, Isaiah 22:2)
Only Jesus can sustain the weight of our fragile hearts.
2. OK, so people are going to let me down, I can get through that as long as it’s not something that hits me in “that” area of life. Anything but that wound. It has been reopened so many times.
Sometimes we get hit where we are the weakest. Old wounds are reopened, and that can be excruciating. But, although our human pain tolerance isn’t enough for those types of hurts, it doesn’t mean we can’t get through them.
We have a Savior that stood in front of us to take the nails and lashes that should have been ours to suffer. He is more than capable and willing to stand in front of us now, today, and receive the brunt of life’s blows.
We do need to be careful about who we trust, but at the end of the day our saving grace is that God will always be able to handle whatever happens. He is the only perfectly safe place.
“Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.” Psalm 146:3
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 1 John 16:33
“Don’t put your trust in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils.” Isaiah 22:2